In a nondescript South Yarra building, behind a locked door, there are so many exquisite designer vintage clothes that the dress-up box within has been upgraded to dress-up warehouse.
Fashion doyenne, the late Mary Lipshut, amassed her multimillion-dollar treasure trove of 6000 pieces by Versace, Pucci, Missoni, Courreges and YSL when she was a buyer from the 1960s to the 1980s and her stash, still with tags, has barely been touched.
The much-loved glamorous octogenarian passed away from cancer, aged 89, in February, and the collection that is testament to her fine taste will be split in half so 3000 pieces priced $20 to $750 can be sold to Ms General Public and Ms High Society.
Serious vintage fanciers can acquire museum pieces, ranging from a $5000 Courreges coat to a $15,000 Roberta velvet coat and jacket. Then there are belts, bags, scarves and jewellery.
Grandson Mark Lipshut, a director of financial services company ANW, which stands for A New Way of Giving, operates a charitable arm and will donate 20 per cent of proceeds to Fitted For Work, an organisation that helps disadvantaged women find work and look the part.
''The work they do would be very close to my grandma's heart,'' Mr Lipshut says. ''She was devoted to women looking their best and succeeding in life.''
The astonishing number of clothes in the Lipshut collection is not the only remarkable factor about her legacy. One shipment was caught up in the diplomatic crossfire when Australia banned French imports after the country tested nuclear bombs in the Pacific. When the cache eventually arrived, the clothes were dated and sent to a warehouse.
Mrs Lipshut took risks during her buying sprees, backing the name Gianni Versace before the Italian had his own label and designed for Complice, Callaghan and Genny. The Missoni family were friends and told her the collection was unique in the world.
During her heyday, Mrs Lipshut was invited to open boutiques within Georges and Myer. She reintroduced her genteel service by opening an appointment-only boutique, ML Vintage, in 2002 and went online two years ago to catalogue her life. When her health started to fail, she decided to sell the collection and connected with a like-minded soul, Danielle Goodwin, a vintage lover aged 26, who sells the gems on consignment at her Hawkeye Vintage boutique in Greville Street, Prahran.
Ms Goodwin was overwhelmed when meeting the senior socialite. ''I thought, 'OMG! She's what I want to be. She's my idol.' She was very young at heart and talkative.'' Spirited Mrs Lipshut showed no sign of retiring to a plush lounge chair because for her 90th birthday, she planned to go skydiving.
There are likely to be airborne manoeuvres by breathless fossickers during the Ultimate Hawkeye Vintage Designer Sale from March 20-22 at L1 Studios in Little Bourke. If they come up for air, they might notice stylist Kate Bollard hosting trunk shows and DJ Georgia Sinclair spinning tunes.
At the VIP opening, elbows will be rubbed with such force it's fortunate security guards will be on hand to contain the hip and shouldering.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/socialite-mary-lipshuts-fashion-collection-on-sale-at-hawkeye-vintage-20140314-34sdn.html#ixzz3xmuf2iFq